Last Friday our church had a documentary screening on human-trafficking. It wasn’t our typical relax-over-homemade-pizza-and-TV Friday activity, but we decided to go anyway, reluctant as we were.
The video was about 90 minutes long, and afterwards there was a panel of church leaders and members who shared how they were helping in the area and around the world to fight the problem. J wanted to stick around and talk with some people at a few tables afterwards. We bought a Tiny Hands bracelet at a booth, and then I asked if we could go. He tried to make conversation on the way to the car, but I just couldn’t speak.
Once our car doors shut, I lost it.
For five minutes in the church parking lot, I cried uncontrollably. Deep gut-wrenching sobs. I wept for the orphans sold into slavery. I wept for the girls herded and bargained like cattle. I wept for the children whose parents permitted, even encouraged, a lifestyle of prostitution, because it was more profitable than other professions. I wept for the women on display in Amsterdam windows for men to purchase for the night. I wept for the women who were tricked by the glamor of a Pretty Woman happy ending, stuck in abusive and violent lifestyles. I wept for the millions of children sexually abused by trusted family members, beginning a life of shame and fear and self-worthlessness.
But above all, I wept because I felt so helpless. The problem was so huge. The number of women too high. The trafficking too smart. The corruption too big. How could I do anything to make even a dent in this problem? It was too much, the evil too great.
It’s easy for me, and most of us I think, to feel helpless and then move on. Feel sad, but chalk it up to another issue we can’t do anything about. Go about our lives and assume someone else will handle it. Someone with more resources and more leadership and more access for change.
But then I think of the African slave trade. Abolition didn’t happen over night, and it didn’t happen from one person single-handedly abolishing slavery. It took years of hard work and awareness and advocation and reform from thousands of individuals who cared enough about the lives and humanity of those persecuted.
I want my grandkids to learn about this issue in their history class. I want it to be a horrible thing that used to happen. On the same list of past horrors like the Holocaust, African slavery, genocide. I want them to ask me if I did anything to help, and I want my answer to be yes. To show them tangible ways of how an average middle-class girl in North Carolina can make a difference, albiet small, in changing the world for the better.
Here is the trailer for the video, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.